Did you know around 40% of the mammals on earth are in the Rodentia (or rodent) order?
Chipmunks, beavers, hamsters, gophers, and mice are all among the 1,500 plus species of rodents. There are so many different kinds of these incredible small mammals! We are delighted to be joining in with The Nature Book Club linkup this month! Down toward the end of this post is a giveaway and all the other awesome link ups!
Which reminds me that we made a PetSmart visit part of our study so we could view the hamsters, mice, gerbils, and rats. We miss our sweet Peanut but aren’t quite ready for another hamster yet. We had fun watching them all play and eat and explore after reading about Frederick.
If you aren’t familiar, Frederick is a delightful mouse created by the gifted storyteller, Leo Lionni. Frederick is a unique little field mouse with a penchant for looking at the beautiful parts of life and holding onto those memories until just the right moment.
A perfect book for little ones, this story also covers a habitat and food sources common to wild mice in a way that is a gentle introduction to preschool and early elementary ages. This introduction often leads to more questions and exploration so we have included some notebooking pages and other resources for further reading below. This site has many interesting facts.
Because Frederick is such an artistic Mus (that’s the genus for a mouse), we created a lovely watercolor bookmark in his honor. The directions for that and a tutorial video are just a bit further down the page. Leo Lionni crafts are always favorites around here!
We made a simple but fun set of Mice notebooking pages which you can grab here: Notebooking Pages for Mice Study
Resources for further study and reading on mice:
Create a Watercolor Bookmark for Frederick by Leo Lionni Activities
- Frederick by Leo Lionni
- Watercolor paper
- Scrapbook paper for backing
- Watercolor paints
- Archival Ink pen
- adhesive for the backing
To begin, you need to cut your watercolor paper and scrapbook paper into 2 inch by 6 inch strips. You can do them larger, but going smaller makes it difficult for little hands to make detailed pictures. For our scrapbook paper we chose a beautiful foiled nature scene piece and a piece covered in whimsical greenery from the huge selection at Michael’s.
Watercolor paper is important! It’s very heavy and created to keep the watercolor where your child paints it. This is also excellent practice for nature journaling. * If your child gets easily frustrated trying to copy nature, having them copy less refined illustrations that are still realistic is a good way to gently work on their drawing skills and build confidence at the same time.
Next, have your children choose the image they would like to recreate from the storybook. Let them sketch that out on their watercolor paper with a pencil. Remember that it is about the process, we aren’t trying to get it perfect!
If they need to erase something, use a rubber eraser as gently as possible! If the fibers of the paper get damaged from erasing, the paint will soak in differently in that spot. When they are satisfied with their drawing, it’s time to paint!
If your child is older and wants to add a quote, it is best to pencil that in before painting and to fill it in with ink after the paint is dry.
After the painting is finished, leave the bookmarks to dry for a little while. When they are finished drying, add your ink if you choose to do so. Then use your adhesive to attach the scrap paper backing to your bookmarks.
If your kids are rough on things or you just want these keepsakes to last, you might consider laminating their bookmarks prior to using them.
Be sure to share your bookmark art with us!